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Jasonnash
25
March, 2014

Varrow Madness 2014 Was AWESOME!

First….If you came to Varrow Madness in Charlotte on Thursday I want to thank you.  We hope that it was well worth your time and want to hear any feedback you have.  Feel free to email me at jason at varrow dot com with any feedback..good, bad..suggestions…whatever.  Love to hear it.

Rebecca Keyser (Varrow) and Jessica Carter (Varrow) Welcoming Attendees
Rebecca Keyser (Varrow) and Jessica Carter (Varrow) Welcoming Attendees

If you didn’t make it…well…I wish you had.  Varrow Madness is our annual event that we hold in March every year.  We strive to bring great technical content that rivals a national conference to a local event.  This year I think we really hit that target as we had an excellent selection of presenters and sessions.

 

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Chad Sakac (EMC), John Dodge (VMware), and Scott Lowe (VMware) on Bird’s of a Feather Panel

Examples of presenters included:

  • Chad Sakac (EMC)
  • Scott Lowe (VMware)
  • Chris Colotti (VMware)
  • Mike Foley (VMware)
  • Andre Leibovici (Nutanix)
  • Rob Peglar (Isilon)
  • Many of Varrow’s own engineers and other presenters
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Irish Dancers

 Every Madness starts off with a bit of entertainment to wake people up and this year was no exception.  This year’s act started with a bit of Irish dancing and then turned in to college cheers.  Personal Opinion:  Cool.  But ran a little long.  Spelling out Varrow using pom-poms was a nice add, though.

Jeremiah Cook (CEO) and Jessica Carter (Marketing Manager)
Jeremiah Cook (CEO) and Jessica Carter (Marketing Manager) Welcoming Attendees

At Varrow Madness we announce the winner of that year’s Innovation Contest.  This year the award went to Chiquita Brands for their datacenter move from Ohio to North Carolina.  There were three finalists in the contest and each has a video.  Here are the links:

Kevin Ledford (CIO of Chiquita Brands) Accepting Award
Kevin Ledford (CIO of Chiquita Brands) Accepting Award

 

Next is the morning keynote!  This year we had a really great speaker, Shawn Achor.  I wrote about Shawn here when we announced he was going to keynote Madness and he did not disappoint.  This was the third time that I’ve seen Shawn present and I enjoyed it yet again.  It’s always good to see someone else presenting while holding a coffee cup.

Shawn Achor
Shawn Achor

Next was time spent in sessions or visiting sponsor booths.  We had something close to 40 technical breakout sessions.  This year we had a large number of Varrow engineers submit to speak…so many in fact that we had to squeeze some booth time and make a 4th session slot.  That’s not a bad problem to have!

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Jim French (Cisco) discussing ACI

We had over double the number of sponsor and sponsor booths this year over last.  We don’t have the final attendance numbers yet but early numbers show significant growth…estimating around 50% more than last year.

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Several new areas were added including a Genius Bar with rotating engineers.

Scott Lowe (VMware) and Jeremy Waldrop (Varrow)
Scott Lowe (VMware) and Jeremy Waldrop (Varrow)

Social media was in full swing all day.  There was discussion on Twitter all day using hashtag #VM14.  Amy Lewis from Cisco was there filming Engineers Unplugged and 60 Seconds in Tech.

Amy Lewis (Cisco) and Trent Steele (Tintri)
Amy Lewis (Cisco) and Trent Steele (Tintri)

Expect to see some good content released soon!

Amy Lewis is easily amused.
Amy Lewis is easily amused.

The afternoon keynote was done again by our CEO, Jeremiah Cook.

Jeremiah Cook (Varrow)
Jeremiah Cook (Varrow)

In my opinion, Jeremiah needs to do the afternoon keynote every year.  He has a gift for being able to relate Varrow culture, values, and passion to attendees.  Every year the response to his keynote is amazing.  He does the same for us during our quarterly meetings, called Oil Changes, and I think it does a great job showing customers and non-customers the internals of Varrow and why we are the way we are.

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After the lunch keynote is more session and booth time.  Along with everything else we also had both VMware and EMC labs this year.  You could either use a client setup for you or BYoD and access them in the hang space.

Sample of available labs
Sample of available labs

The hang space was a popular spot to rest throughout the day…

Varrowites Relaxing Near the Labs
Varrowites Relaxing Near the Labs

Again, if you came to Madness 2014 thank you very much.  If you didn’t, we hope to see you next year.  It’s a great event and we’d love to have you there.  Thank you from everyone at Varrow!

Almost everyone at Varrow
Almost everyone at Varrow

If you’d like to see more pictures from the event just click here.

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